On Saturday, I mentioned several players whose arbitration hearings were scheduled for the near future, one of whom was Michael Brantley. Brantley and the Indians will avoid a hearing, as they just signed him to a four-year, $25 million extension, with an $11 million option (with a $1 million buyout) for the fifth year. Jon Heyman of CBS reported that Brantley will get a $3.5 million signing bonus and will make $1.5 million in 2014, $5 million in 2015, $6.5 million in 2016, $7.5 million for 2017, with the option for 2018. If you remember, Brantley was asking for $3.8 million for 2014 while the Indians had countered with $2.7 million in arbitration. This contract extension will take him through the remainder of his arbitration years, as well as the first year of free agency (he would have been a free agent after the 2016 season). The Indians can also extend that for a year by picking up the 2018 option.
Brantley is the second young player the Indians have locked up since 2012, when they extended Carlos Santana to a five-year, $21 million deal through the 2017 season. Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn are locked up through the 2016 season with options for 2017, while Ryan Raburn and David Murphy are signed through 2015, with options for 2016. Mike Aviles has an option for the 2015 season; those are the only guaranteed salaries on the books beyond 2014. In recent years, the Indians had been opting to go year-to-year with arbitration eligible players, or signing them to shorter deals (like Asdrubal Cabrera’s two-year deal prior to the 2013 season).
In other baseball news:
PITCHERS AND CATCHERS REPORT TOMORROW!!!! SORRY FOR THE CAPS AND EXCLAMATION POINTS, BUT THIS IS VERY, VERY EXCITING!!!